Today I will tell you how to win more chess games. Yes, it’s that simple, after reading today’s article you will have a pretty good picture in your head and will be able to fix something that you doing wrong in order to win or at least not to lose games. The topic of today’s discussion is again: endgames. Are you excited? Well, you should be since you are the one who will play better after today and win games.
I have written many articles about endgames such as how to improve your endgame play, how to checkmate with a Knight and Bishop, Two Bishops or play Rook Endgames. This time the topic of our interest is very broad and will explain endgame strategies that can be applied to any type of endgames.
Okay, it is a time to start listing the winning endgame strategies. You maybe know some of them, but this list will organize them in your head.
- Activate and centralize your King (You probably already know that King is a valuable piece in the endgame which can be used to do all sorts of jobs such as attacking opponent’s pawns and pieces and defending your own counterparts. It is important not only to start using your King as a weapon, but it’s also important to do it on time. Very often the side with a more advanced King wins a game. Timing is very important, you should be careful not to activate your King to early when there are pieces on the board that can impose a threat. )
- Do not push pawn forward until you really need it (You think, what? Aren’t you supposing to push your pawns forward as fast and possible and to promote them into Queens? Not necessarily. Of course, if you see that you can push pawn and promote them safely it’s a way to go. But, if you don’t see the way to promote them safely, you will be better on improving position of your King. Remember, pawns cannot move back)
- Have a reserved tempo (That’s another reason why you don’t always want to move your pawns right away. There is a chess concept called opposition. It occurs when one King is placed in front of the other King and no one wants to move and allow the opponent’s King to penetrate. Then if you have extra pawn moves you will win the opposition and win the game.)
- Create pawns majorities (These are very important. For example if you have 2 pawns against 1 on the Queen’s side you can get a passed pawn. Let’s say you have 2 pawns vs. 3 on King’s side. With that passed pawn on the Queen’s side you can win the game. While your opponent sprints his King to intercept the pawn you can take his entire King’s side majority and promote your own pawns. This is a very important endgame concept which can win you many endgames ->)
- Create a passed pawn, sacrifice it and win all other pawns (that’s what happened in the example above, but it can be also done with just any isolated passed pawn)
- Calculate as deep as you can (Of course, it is applicable to every part of the game, but in the endgame it is especially important, since there not that many pieces and variations. Calculate if you can promote first, if you can catch the pawn, or the opponent will be able to catch you pawn. By looking far ahead, you will almost illuminate ‘chance’ and will win more games.)
- Chose wisely what piece to have. If you have an option of choosing what piece to have when entering endgame you should use following guidelines:
– If the position is open and there are pawns on both side of the board, Bishop is Stronger than a Knight.
– If the position is closed, Knight is better.
– If your opponent has more pawns then you, you want to have opposite color Bishop ending which has a high probability for a draw even when 2 pawns down (in some cases, not always)
– If you have more pawns you should chose the same color Bishops ending for the reasons above
- In the Rook endgames :
– If you are a pawn up keep your opponents King away from your pawn
– If you are a pawn down keep your King close to the opponent’s pawn